The Chase

Bucky Bitters struggles to escape the airborne affections of Derpy Hooves after a chance encounter caused them to bump noses together. His real mistake was trying to comfort the mare after the snoot-bump. Little does the poor stallion realise that their meeting was only the prologue to a journey that will change not only his life, but the lives around him forever.

This story is a sequel to The Catch

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Bucky slowly awoke and became aware of the world around him. His brain still swirled with the things he knew, memories, knowledge, he remembered everything from his dream. As he slowly came to the waking world, he became aware of the soft indirect light of day streaming through the window. He felt the warmth of the pegasus sleeping beside him.

But something was wrong.

He raised his stump and gave it a shake. He couldn’t feel anything. He was aware that he should feel something. It should hurt. It should itch. There should have been some indicator that something was wrong. With a soft wordless cry of worry, he grabbed the bandages in his teeth and tore them free. The sticky tape pulled some of the fine hairs of his pelt out, and he felt that, a faint sting more than anything else. He stared at his stump.

It was completely healed over. The flesh was pink and healthy looking. It was covered with a latticework of fine scars, but it was healed. He prodded the end of his stump into his chin, bracing for the pain as he did so. There was soft twinge for a moment, but no spike of blinding pain. He took a quick mental inventory of himself. Reaching down, scraped away the bandage covering his brand with his remaining front hoof. Right away he was aware of something different. No pain. Even as he pawed at the bandage, rubbing himself should have hurt.

The bandage half on and half off, Bucky turned his attention to other places. Fidgeting around, he went to work on the bandage on his side, near his shoulder, where he had the laceration. He touched it gingerly. No screaming agony. He prodded himself again. He could feel the lump of scar tissue under the bandage.

It slowly dawned on Bucky that not only was he healed, but he had his strength back.

He bounced out of bed and skittered on three legs. Derpy awoke in the bed and started to look at him through half opened eyes. Bucky suffered from a sudden urge to grab her and shag her senseless, but he had something else he needed to do.

“I love you. I’m fine. I’ll be back real soon,” Bucky said as he took off at a three legged trot for the door. “Really, see, I’m fine, I’ll explain later.”

“Bucky, get back in this bed,” Derpy mumbled as she started to lift herself.

Focusing his concentration, Bucky called forth his magic and exploded into a cloud of snowflakes, exiting the room in his usual dramatic fashion.

 

 

It was difficult to wait patiently. Celestia needed to know everything. She needed to know the truth. He had reappeared near the entrance to the royal wing, the section of the castle where the two sisters had their private quarters. The guards had been a little surprised to see him, and had shown him to a small sofa where he could sit and wait to see Celestia.

He heard low voices talking, and then he heard her voice. He took a deep breath. He wasn’t sure how he was going to convince her of the truth, what it was that she needed to hear. He had to tell her about the Fates. He had to tell Celestia about her mistakes.

And then, he saw her. Celestia and Raven came around the corner together, both of them looking at Bucky, and Raven had a bemused look upon her face. Celestia was smiling, her usual soft  gentle smile. Bucky felt his heart racing as he prepared himself for what needed to be done.

He took another deep breath, collected his thoughts. and began to sort out how to tell the guardian of the cosmos that she was making a terrible mistake and she needed to hear what her half sisters, the Fates, had to say and the truth of the matter. He opened his mouth…

“You look especially fine today ladies.”

Bucky blinked a few times, trying to understand what had just happened. The words he had wanted to say hadn’t come out at all. Something else had taken their place. This was not expected.

“Buckminster?” Celestia said gently, sounding slightly concerned. She could see a confused look on Bucky’s face and wasn’t sure what was happening.

Bucky pressed on, determined to try again, to stubborn to give up. “You know, Raven, if I may be so bold, you have aged like a fine wine. A very drinkable wine I might add.”

Inside of his mind, Bucky began screaming as he saw Raven turn beet red. Celestia was also blushing, turning a faint shade of pink. He stared at the two mares in stunned horror. He had tried to tell Celestia that he was aware of the cosmic alicorn and the Fates. Instead, he had just made a pass at Celestia’s personal assistant. And from the looks of things, Raven was all to happy to accept that pass and run with it.

“I’m worried... Buckminster, are you feeling okay?” Celestia inquired as she patted the stammering unicorn mare at her side. Celestia’s brows furrowed.

“I’m fine. Really. I had this weird dream last night and I wanted to tell you about PICKLE BARREL KUMQUATS-” Bucky clamped his remaining front fetlock over his muzzle and his surviving eye opened wide. “CHIMICHERRYCHANGA!” The word slipped out from his mouth unbidden as he was trying think of a way to say what needed to be said without actually saying it, and the brilliant idea of writing it down had crossed his mind. He abandoned the idea.

“Buckminster?” Celestia inquired again in an concerned voice.

“I had some weird dreams and I woke up healed,” Bucky said as he held up his stump. He didn’t dare say anything else. Raven was giving him flirty looks and Bucky squirmed uncomfortably.

Coming forward quickly, Celestia peered at Bucky’s stump, her eyes narrowing as she studied the now healed over end. Her eyes widened, then narrowed, and she made a peculiar equine sound of confusion, a sort of whinny-nickering-bellow-grunt of perplexed emotion. “It does look better… but I worry that your brain might be a bit scrambled.”

“Oh my brain was scrambled a long time ago,” Bucky said dismissively.

“No, Buckminster, I am concerned. You faced a crystal lich. The aura of fear they generate is damaging to the mind. Your behaviour has been… erratic lately to say the very least,” Celestia said as she continued to study the healed over skin.

“Celestia, I threw myself off of The Scorned Mare and dropped over a mile, plunging towards the earth. I only survived because of my armor. The sane part of my brain that causes me to feel fear has been malfunctioning for quite some time,” Bucky responded.

“I see,” Celestia said. She shot Raven a sour look and the unicorn mare began to compose herself under Celestia’s withering gaze.

With a loud squawk, Freezerburn went shooting off down the hall with Philomena in hot pursuit. Bucky watched the pair of phoenixes go streaking off. He scratched the scarred side of his face with his right front hoof.

“Those two,” Raven sighed.

“So is that where Freezerburn has been hiding?” Bucky asked.

“Much to my dismay, Philomena has chosen Freezerburn as her mate. Phoenixes mate for life you know. And they are functionally immortal,” Celestia replied.

“Well, I’m glad he’s happy,” Bucky said as he listened to the shrill cries and squawks from the down the hall.

“I am just glad that the worst of the pranks are over. What a horrible way to attract a mate,” Celestia said as she lifted her head up high. “You know Buckminster, corrupted phoenixes are very rare and quite dangerous. I am genuinely surprised that Freezerburn is so kind and well behaved. He is a lot like you. He has endured something terrible but has somehow kept himself from becoming a monster.”

Bucky nodded. He had come here to tell Celestia the truth but now was getting a brief lecture about the behaviours of phoenixes. He sighed. He felt the warm tingle of magic upon his side and then he was pushed over slightly. He felt the bandage over his gash being pulled away gently and then he heard a gasp from Celestia. He turned his head to look at her and saw her stunned expression.

“It is healed,” Celestia said. “But there is no evidence of healing magic. There should be a magical signature. Healing magic would trigger your ascension… this is difficult to understand. Is there anything else you wanted to tell me?”

“Well, there is something OATMEAL? ARE YOU CRAZY?” Bucky replied. Once again, he covered his mouth with his fetlock. He wanted to tell Celestia about his problem, that every time he tried to tell her about what was going on, he had strange words come blurting out of his mouth, but even that caused him to blurt out a crazy jumble of nonsensical words. He realised that Celestia was deep inside of his personal space now. He could feel her breathing on his snoot. She was an inch away, nose to nose, snoot to snoot, and she was studying him.

“I am worried Buckminster. I am very, very concerned,” Celestia stated.

“Doctor said I need to eat more. I, uh, er, well, he said, um, well the earth pony doctor you have looking after me said I might suffer from fugue like states if I don’t eat enough,” Bucky stammered. “Something to do with my messed up thaumaturgical gland mana conversion system. Lots of medical mumbo-jumbo.”

“I would go have breakfast if I were you,” Celestia suggested.

“I think I’ll go screw my breakfast and eat all my wives,” Bucky murmured. His eye shot wide open and his pupil shrank down to a pinprick. “I… oh… eat my breakfast…” he stammered, not bothering to finish his sentence.

“Buckminster,” Celestia said in concern.

Not knowing how else to deal with the situation, Bucky teleported, leaving behind a flurry of snowflakes and a layer of frost all over the walls.

Celestia shivered and shook the snow from her pelt. “It was bad enough when Sombra did that,” she muttered. “Leaving ice and snow everywhere. Brrrr!”

“I dunno, I’m feeling kinda warm,” Raven said, her eyes narrowed as she smiled a pleasant smile. “Have I really aged like fine wine?”

 

 

Sitting at the table, hunched over some paper, and surrounded by a pile of books, dictionaries, and thesauruses, Sentinel concentrated upon the task at hoof. It was difficult to focus. His father was acting peculiar, more so than usual. He was worried about Moonbow. Harper kept sneezing and occasionally her magical blasts ricocheted. Lyra kept hollering at Dinky to put something down, couches, the refrigerator, ponies, and Dinky kept trying to figure out just how much she could lift with her magic.

Nopony seemed to appreciate that Sentinel had an important job to do and nopony would be quiet so he could focus. He was about to unleash the first volley in his assault against General Iron Sky, a pegasus that Sentinel simply could not stand. Sentinel wanted his words to be a slap across the muzzle to the obnoxious general.

He looked at the crumpled balls of paper that were his first attempts. He needed to write something spectacular, something witty, something worthy of the paper. He wanted ponies to talk.

Clutching his pencil in between his grasping thumb and the central knuckle of his right wing, Sentinel stuck out his tongue in concentration and began to write once again.

 

 

Bucky leaned his head back against the edge of the tub and sighed. He didn’t care that the tub was a little crowded. He closed his eye and allowed himself to mindlessly drift away as he felt Berry Punch scrubbing his stomach… and everything else down there. A hot cup of coffee was sitting on the counter near the tub. The hot water made the tight skin on his stump relax. Lifting the coffee carefully in his magic, he took a sip of the hot liquid, shuddered from the pleasant feeling of it trickling down his throat, and then levitated it back to the counter.

It was nice being able to sit in a hot bath again.

“True love means never having to scrub your own back,” Berry said as she teasingly scrubbed around a very sensitive area. “Thank you for scrubbing my back… I’m glad you are feeling better,” she added in sultry tones.

Bucky wished that he could tell Berry what had happened, but he was terrified of what might come out of his mouth. He remained silent and simply enjoyed the moment. The tub was just wide enough for Berry to be squeezed in beside him, but only if they were pressed tightly together, and the feeling of her touch as she scrubbed everything that needed scrubbing… Bucky shivered.

It was good to be up and moving once again.

 

 

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